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Thursday, June 4, 2020
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Pandemic economics

Dear Editor,
It is obvious that the Belizean politicians and politicians globally have already failed pandemic economics. Firstly, never in history had the vast majority of the world decided to cease economic activities except those essential for life. If people are on lockdown, how will they consume? If they have no or little money, how will they buy? How will government collect taxes? Some people were barely eating every day, and this economic shutdown is driving them into absolute, extreme poverty.

Poverty leads to shorter lifespans. People in the top 25% economically prosperous countries live 14 years longer than people of the bottom 25% of countries. If Belize’s income drops by one quartile, it would be equivalent to 24,000 deaths. I am asking, is the cure worse than the disease?

In any disaster —health or other kinds —protecting, preserving, working towards restoration of normal life, should be implemented. It is not the aim of any stimulus so far. I propose aggressive and frequent testing, building up the population’s immunity with a diet rich in vitamin C and proper nutrition, and requiring that everyone wear masks and practice good hygiene. We need to resume economic activities so that everyone can eat.

I believe the global economy was fragile and a bubble was built on low interest rates and quantitative easing (money creation) and debt. According to the IMF, global debt is at US $257 trillion — 322% of global GDP. If people, corporations and governments had savings and were not so heavily indebted, they would be able to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Let’s look at history and see how people successfully dealt with viruses or other diseases and pandemics. Like the flu, even if we get COVID-19 under control, it will evolve and come in a mutated form. As of April 7, 2020, there are 1,421,577 cases and 81,688 deaths — a 5.7 % mortality rate. 99% of the people who died had other health complications. We need to protect the very young and very old and people with health complications, and we will be okay.

When will this lockdown come to an end? Two months or two years?

Yours truly,
Brian E. Plummer

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